Misc Archive


Lean Business Report Presented by LeanKit

Lean Business Report
You’ve heard of the State of Agile survey?

Welcome to the Lean Business Report Survey!

I would describe myself as a whole lot of things, including a Lean Practitioner.  I was forwarded this survey and thought I would give it a go.  It only took me about 10 minutes and it felt great that I was able to contribute.

Why not help out?  Get started here >> Lean Business Report Survey

In the survey, you’ll be asked to share your experiences in learning, adopting or practicing Lean. LeanKit will compile and share the results in early 2016. Together, we’ll gain a deeper understanding of how Lean works for business.

If you provide your email address, you’ll receive an early copy of the Lean Business Report and also be entered to win one of five $500 Amazon gift cards.
Here are some quick facts to know before you begin:

  • The survey will take approximately 11 minutes.

  • Only questions marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

  • Your responses are completely anonymous.
Thank you again for your input!

Don’t Stand in Line for Mediocrity

Drink CoffeeI had 5 minutes to spare, so I walked into popular coffeehouse to grab a quick cup of joe.  I didn’t want a mocha-latte-hooya-watcha-ma-call-it. I wanted a good cup of black coffee. I saw a line 5 people deep. I stood there for about 30 seconds and then turned around and walked out.  The image the coffeehouse wants to project is that they are this hip place where the popular and successful are seen.  This image is greater than the taste of their coffee.  The reality is every person and their grandmother walk through the door buying into the lie.  More importantly, the coffee isn’t that good. It’s actually pretty mediocre.  I’m glad I walked out the door.

Life is too short to stand in line for mediocrity.


Operating Outside Your Comfort Zone

Operate Outside Your Comfort ZoneLast week, I facilitated an Agile game, with the goal to increase product delivery throughput.  At the beginning of each iteration, I would remind the team “The seven rules of the game are…“.  Upon completion of the third iteration and only seeing modest gains, one of the team members questioned the need for one of the rules and proposed a change in the delivery process.  She asked me, “Is it ok if we do that?”  My response didn’t give her much solace.  Though I knew she was concerned with potentially lowering delivery throughput, I said “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission. Just do it.”  The team then changed their process, resulting in a dramatic increase in delivery throughput.

Though I know success isn’t always the outcome, if you don’t go outside your comfort zone and do something different, you’re never going to see dramatic results.  This applies on both organizational and personal levels.  Within the game, I allowed the team to pilot the new processes so they would either fail quickly or prove their theories.  Over the course of a few iterations, they figured out what worked and what did not, while adhering (directly and indirectly) to the original seven rules.

Within an organization, I recognize things can be much more complicated.  We have regulatory compliance, mandates, and policies to contend with.  I do challenge you to question if they all apply to your current situation.  As with the game, the team just assumed if the rule was listed then it must apply to them.  Without questioning the rules, the results are heavy and burdensome processes.

On a personal level, we litter our lives with artificial constraints.  We accumulate a lifetime of unnecessary rules, rarely stopping to ask ourselves why we do things that prevent us from excelling in the areas we desire.  I’m not promoting living or working recklessly or unethically. Uphold a few guiding principles and reteach yourself to intentionally go outside your comfort zone.  Stop asking permission and let the magic happen.

You can also read this post at LeadingAgile


New PMI Member Benefits

PMI Visa CardRemember the American Express slogan, Membership Has Its Privileges?

Well, PMI is working on providing more membership privileges…and benefits for your $129 a year membership dues.

What would you think about getting your medical insurance or next credit card through PMI?

Personally, I would be happy with PMI discount codes for travel expenses like hotel and airlines or consumables like Sharpies and Post-It notes.  Check out what PMI is offering!  I may actually look into the Pet Insurance.

These new member benefits initially will be available to PMI members in the United States. Members can learn more about these programs by visiting the Benefits of Membership page on PMI.org.

Insurance Benefits

· Auto
· Prescription Discounts
· Home
· Medical
· Dental
· Life Insurance
· Pet Insurance
· Annuities

PMI Credit Card

· No annual fee
· Low introductory APR on purchases and no balance transfer fees for six months
· 1% cash back that can be used on merchandise, travel (no blackout dates), event tickets, activities, gift cards, and account credits


Back from the Islands

Island VacationThe 2012 Huether Island Vacation has come and gone. To use it as an opportunity to grow, I wanted to do things outside my comfort zone.  What qualifies?  Let’s start with everything that has anything to do with relaxation.  I’m a “let’s do stuff” kind of guy.  My wife is a “let’s relax and unplug” kind of gal. And, our son is a “Mom, have you seen my Trapper Keeper” kind of kid. My wife thought I was a little crazy when I proposed going on a cruise to remote islands with little or no technology. But, we did it!

So, what did we do to make everyone happy?  We went on a cruise and also rented a private bungalow on a small island.  We did crazy stuff like race horses (bareback) on Grand Turk [I have pictures] and went swimming with dolphins. We ate 3+ meals a day as a family and listened to our son grind his teeth every night.

I will admit, I kind of wanted to poke my eyes out after the first day at sea. Seriously, sit in the same chair IN THE SUN all day long?  Fortunately, they had all-you-could-drink coffee and a decent gym.  Getting on a boat with really bad Internet and a wickedly short list of television channels forces you to do weird things like talk with your family.  I think we did pretty well.  I wasn’t constantly checking my phone.  I wasn’t thinking about work. I was interacting with my family.

As a family, we did discover one thing we all missed.  We missed being able to look up strange facts any time we wanted.  Our son wanted to know what a Trapper Keeper was. My wife wanted to know if that Peter Max painting should really cost that much. I wanted to know why we couldn’t bring Cuban cigars back into the United States.  Certainly, I could write a lengthy blog post about feedback loops and flow of the lines through Customs.  Instead, I just wanted to say what I did on vacation.

I am now fully charged and ready to get back to work.
Get ready for some exciting news in the coming week.  The technology fast is officially over.

Image Credit: Pictofigo